The Denver Nuggets think they’re pretty good this season, but the Milwaukee Bucks still think they’re better.
The Nuggets moved to 36-15 with another victory on Friday night, reclaiming the best record in the Western Conference in the process. That led to coach Michael Malone remarking that the Nuggets have “beaten every team in the NBA,” but that, as the Bucks pointed out, was something of an oversight.
The two teams have not played since November, but the Bucks are right. They defeated the Nuggets twice in the span of eight days.
The Bucks ultimately do not appreciate being disrespected. Their Twitter account will be more than happy to continue correcting the record on stuff like this. After all, the Nuggets may have the best record in the West, but it’s the Bucks who can claim the best record overall.
Nick Young has not stuck with the Denver Nuggets.
The team announced Sunday that they have waived Young just 20 days after originally picking him up.
Young was signed on Dec. 10 as the Nuggets battled a glut of injuries. He ended up playing just 37 total minutes over four games and took nine shots, eight of them three-pointers, converting on three of them. Ultimately, he didn’t contribute much, and with both Gary Harris and Will Barton closing in on returns, there just isn’t any place for him on Denver’s roster in either the short- or long-term.
It’s not clear where Young will land next, but some team will inevitably need a shooter to fill out their roster.
Nick Young has been looking for an opportunity to continue his playing career since the offseason, and a team has finally decided to add him to the mix.
The Denver Nuggets announced on Monday that they have signed Young to a contract.
Young won a championship ring with the Golden State Warriors last year. He averaged 7.3 points and 1.6 rebounds per game during the regular season and played just 10.3 minutes per game in the playoffs.
Prior to joining the Warriors, Young spent four seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. The 33-year-old appeared to offer his services to his former team in a tweet earlier this season, but he should be pleased to be joining another contender. The Nuggets are off to a 17-9 start and look like one of the better teams in the Western Conference to this point.
Fans and analysts knew this NBA offseason could be crazy, with a number of big-name players potentially changing uniforms — and the league hasn’t disappointed. So far, we’ve seen the unsurprising (LeBron signed with the Lakers), moderately surprising (Paul George is sticking with OKC), and downright stunning (DeMarcus Cousins is headed to the Bay Area).
But the above moves are just scratching the surface of all that’s happened. Other teams improved through the draft and through signing players who aren’t household names but should still make a big impact.
Which squads have made the biggest leap over their 2017-18 iterations? Here’s our take on the 10 teams that have improved the most so far this summer.
10. San Antonio Spurs
The biggest move of San Antonio’s offseason, of course, has not yet happened: the trade of Kawhi Leonard, which seems all but certain to occur. And even though they’ve lost Tony Parker and Kyle Anderson, the Spurs have still had a good summer to date. Marco Belinelli won a title with the Spurs in 2014, and they’re happy to have him back. He was a key piece on the Philadelphia team that at times looked unbeatable late in the season, and he’s one of the league’s best shooters. Snagging him at $6 million a year is a real value. R.C. Buford lucked out landing Lonnie Walker, a cold-blooded creator from Miami, at No. 18 in the draft – one of my favorite picks. He’s shown shades of Dwyane Wade.
The Denver Nuggets are trying to put themselves in a position to contend in the Western Conference next season, and they are aiming as high as possible in free agency in order to accomplish that goal.
Now that they have signed Nikola Jokic and Will Barton to extensions, the Nuggets are reportedly planning to “aggressively pursue” a meeting with LeBron. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated says they could try to sell James on the idea of giving them a shot for one season.
While that’s awfully ambitious of Denver’s front office, the odds of it happening are about as slim as it gets. Jamal Murray, Jokic and Barton give the Nuggets a solid core of young players, but it would make no sense for LeBron to sign with them over a team like the Los Angeles Lakers.
There have been indications that LeBron is going to make a decision sooner rather than later, and no one expects a surprise team like the Nuggets to be a factor.
It has been five years since the Denver Nuggets reached the postseason and nearly a decade since they won a playoff series, so now seems like as good of a time as any to undergo a branding change.
According to T.J. McBride of Mile High Sports, the Nuggets are planning to do just that. The team will unveil new branding and uniforms at some point prior to the 2018-19 season.
Previous rumors indicated that the Nuggets may be going back to the colors they wore during the 1990s. That would mean the end of the powder blue era that Denver introduced in the 2000s.
We have already seen some significant changes to NBA uniforms over the past year, and the Nuggets are continuing that trend.
The Denver Nuggets have reportedly traded Emmanuel Mudiay to the New York Knicks as part of a three-team trade.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Mudiay is heading to the Knicks with fellow point guard Devin Harris going to Denver. The third team, the Dallas Mavericks, are getting Doug McDermott.
The Nuggets will also get a future second-round pick in the deal, according to Woj.
Mudiay, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2015 draft, had been discussed as a possible piece of a trade that would bring Boston Celtics point guard Marcus Smart to the Nuggets, but that obviously never materialized.
The Denver Nuggets have reportedly looked into acquiring Marcus Smart from the Boston Celtics.
According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Nuggets have made point guard Emmanuel Mudiay available in a potential Smart trade, but the Celtics would prefer a first-round pick.
Smart is most certainly available, and is clearly drawing a lot of interest. It turns out his recent temper tantrum hasn’t done much to hinder his trade value. Boston seems determined to get a draft pick out of this, though, and it remains to be seen if anyone is willing to meet that asking price.
Nothing really makes sense in our world any more. Rookies are playing like ten-year pros, Arthur memes are taking over the planet, and the president is feuding with LaVar Ball. In trying times like these, we need some real and concrete answers about what’s fact and what’s fiction, so let’s start by asking the only question that matters about eight NBA teams that have outperformed expectations to this point of the season: contender or pretender?
The Verdict: PRETENDER
It’s difficult to believe going from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to Avery Bradley and getting slight improvements from the rest of the roster is a viable long-term winning strategy, and that’s probably because it isn’t. As good as Detroit has been, their first 16 games have felt incredibly fluky. Eight of their wins have come by single-digits, and they improved their three-point percentage by over five points from last season despite returning largely the same core. The NBA is fun when bigs like Andre Drummond are rampaging through the competition and dudes like Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith are running circles around everybody. But the Pistons’ own fun may be coming to an end soon.
The Verdict: CONTENDER
Joel Embiid is better than any horror film out there and is playing like a top-ten guy in the league right now. His brilliance has been largely overshadowing the 18-9-8 stat line that fellow ’90s baby Ben Simmons has been hoisting up. The world is also awakening to how good Robert Covington is at the sport of basketball. JJ Redick is looking like one of the more underrated signings of the summer. Indeed, the Sixers are putting up 109 points per game at the NBA’s fourth-fastest pace, and Markelle Fultz (you know, the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft) is still hurt. It’s Process forever and I will not hear otherwise.
Though there was no single Kevin-Durant-to-Golden-State-sized splash in the NBA this offseason, teams made move after move to jockey with the Warriors in an attempt to interrupt their reign of terror.
The Rockets took a leap of faith and traded the farm for an aging Chris Paul. The Celtics used their cap space to reunite Gordon Hayward with Brad Stevens, then got rid of an asset in Avery Bradley to balance their checkbook. The Timberwolves suddenly became a legitimate Western Conference contender by ripping off the Bulls.
There were so many moves, in fact — so many trades and so many signings — that, now that the league’s transaction churn and burn has finally calmed, it’s hard to believe all that actually happened. To sum it up:
We’re going to see a lot of familiar faces in new jerseys come this fall (the preseason begins Sept. 30). But which of those players will make the biggest impact, and which teams will look the most improved? Which 2017-18 NBA squad will make the biggest leap?
It’s too early to know, of course, but below is my take on the 10 NBA teams that improved the most this offseason.
10. Denver Nuggets